Testimony given by Maris Bentley before the Nebraska Legislature Judiciary Committee November 1, 2013
My name is Maris Bentley. I reside in Omaha. I am a retired teacher and school counselor. My husband Dave and I have been married for 37 years. We have 4 grown children and 6 grandchildren.
I had originally intended to go through this document titled “10 reasons why homosexual marriage is harmful and must be opposed,” but after prayer and reflection I decided that doing so would probably just be a waste of time.
During his lengthy and numerous speeches, Senator Chambers recounted the story of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” and as he was speaking, I was recalling another childhood story that seems very appropriate. The name of the story is “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” I’m sure you all remember that story. It’s the story about people who can’t or won’t see the truth even when it is parading around naked right in front of them. What many of you seem unable to see is the truth about marriage—what it is and what it isn’t.
It seems to me that those of you intent upon moving forward with this travesty will not be persuaded by arguments related to history or natural law or morality or public health or even what is in the best interests of future generations of Nebraskans. You aren’t even listening to the more the 70% of Nebraska voters, like myself, who voted in favor of DOMA 13 years ago.
Instead you hear the voices of those who claim this is a civil rights issue, and that marriage must be redefined to order to bring about some false notion of equality. Our Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal;” it does not say that all behaviors are equal. We know they are not. And that is what this debate on marriage is based on—the forced acceptance and promotion of a behavior that has been considered from the beginning of human history to be unnatural and immoral, not to mention unhealthy.
No, I am not a homophobe, even though Senator Chambers likes to call me, and others who agree with me, these names. I am not afraid of homosexuals. Neither am I hateful or a bigot. I do not hate any human being. I want to see all people treated with respect and dignity, no matter whether I approve of their behavior or not.
I try to live my life following my Lord and Savior, and that means that I am to love my neighbor as I love myself. And what about love?
Those who identify themselves by their sexual behavior would also have us believe that this is about love, but it is not. No one is denying anyone the ability to love another person. But what is love, after all? It is not a feeling, though feelings, good and bad, are part of every human experience. Love is not sex, there are many people we love who we do not have sex with. Ultimately, love is a choice—a choice that entails sacrifice, a willingness to put aside our egos and our selfishness for the good of the beloved. Make no mistake, this debate is really all about sexual freedom—the freedom to have a sexual relationship with anyone we want regardless of the consequences to ourselves and others. We’ve already seen the destruction to marriage and family brought about by the Sexual Revolution The sexual freedom that is being promoted as “marriage equality” is the antithesis of love, and it will only serve to further destroy the bedrock of a stable society—the family.